At least 214 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 13 counties, New Jersey Health Department officials said Friday.
The federal government on Thursday declared the monkeypox outbreak a national health emergency after more than 7,100 Americans reported contracting the virus. The appointment would allow the Biden administration to use federal money and other resources to fight the virus, which causes acne-like bumps, fever, fatigue and other symptoms in infected people.
New Jersey’s infections are on the rise, from 45 total cases two weeks ago to 214 cases as of Friday. That’s a 375% increase.
Cases have been diagnosed in 13 counties: Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Essex, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties.
Hudson County reported the most cases as of Friday with 67, followed by Essex County with 45 and Bergen County with 24, state officials said.
Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Hunterdon, Salem, Sussex and Warren counties have reported no positive cases, according to the health department.
In counties with fewer than five cases, the state has not released a specific number of cases to protect patient privacy, officials said.
Jobs have also increased dramatically across the country. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US cases nearly tripled in the two-week period from July 20 to Wednesday.
New Jersey residents should be cautious, but the declaration of a national health emergency is a good sign, said Stephanie Silvera, an epidemiologist and professor at Montclair State University.
Public health emergencies allow the government to more easily allocate resources to respond to outbreaks, which is positive, Silvera said. It helps the community take it more seriously, he said.
“And to people who think it’s a disease for other people in other places, hopefully they will get it,” Silvera said.
Residents should continue to follow general disease prevention tactics, including hand washing and staying out if sick. Although monkeypox is not an airborne virus, it can be spread through droplets and saliva, so it’s a good idea to wear a mask if you think you may have been exposed to the virus, Silvera said.
According to the Department of Health, those in the risk group should be vaccinated against rabies. High-risk groups include men who have sex with men and those who have tested positive or who have been in contact with those who have attended an event known to have monkeypox.
But state officials acknowledge that finding the vaccine has been difficult for some New Jersey residents.
“The availability of the vaccine is limited,” said Health Department spokeswoman Nancy Kearney. “Demand is high and appointments are filling up quickly.”
As of Monday, the state had received about 5,500 doses, he said. An additional 14,520 doses are expected in the coming weeks, including 5,900 doses due this week, he said.
There are currently five monkeypox vaccination sites in New Jersey:
- Hyacinth AIDS Foundation/ Project Living Out! (Jersey City): 201-706-3480
- Prevention Resource Network, a program of the Visiting Nurse Association of Central Jersey (Asbury Park): 732-502-5100
- North Jersey Community Research Initiative (Newark): 973-483-3444
- Cooper University Hospital, 300 Broadway (Camden): At the intersection of Broadway and MLK Boulevard. MLK Boulevard entrance. Follow the signs; do not enter the parking lot. By Appointment Only: Call 856-968-7100, Monday through Thursday, 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM and Friday, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM or visit online anytime through MyCooper by clicking here.
- Bergen New Bridge Medical Center, Annex 2 (white roof structure), 230 East Ridgewood Ave. (Paramus) Online appointment only by clicking here
Can’t see the map below? Click here. (Note: The numbers on the national map and the chart below may not match the total number of cases on the CDC and New Jersey Department of Health websites because the data is delayed by a few days. The data is updated periodically. Please confirm the date shown below. (top of the map below to see when the route has been updated.)
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